I've just finished viewing all 5 seasons of The Wire via Amazon, as it recently became available 'free' to Prime subscribers. I'd been skeptical of the hype touting the show as "some of the best TV drama out there", but now having seen it first hand, I have to say it's well above the quality of anything on the network or cable channels - absolutely relevant to the plight of Chicago and other American cities, which are dying at the hands of moral adolescents and the broken social policies bred by their collectivist fetish.
The show is set in Baltimore, but it could just as easily have been done in Chicago. While it's commonly perceived as run-of-the-mill "cops vs. drug dealers" fare, in fact it is anything but procedural, and portrays a surprising range of the causes-and-effects that result in the sort of human detritus, social breakdown and bloody violence Chicago has bred since I left that cesspool decades ago. To call it "gritty" would be to trivialize it. While it's replete with many of the same stereotypes that inhabit lesser productions, the show has something... a waxing, waning hopelessness, for lack of a better description... that rings true.
One recurring, sardonically delicious irony is the lack of self-awareness displayed by various characters' sporadic bashing of "Republicans", "Cheney", NCLB and other tribal liberal shibboleths. Only the writers know if it was intentional, but the conservative-bashing lyric is blatantly, and sometimes almost comically juxtaposed with the utter social dysfunction, corruption, narcissism and general breakdown - from the Mayor at the top, all the way down to the "corner boys" who hand out heroin on the streets... when they're not (literally) blowing each others' brains out - that is endemic to, and indeed sustained by nominal Democrat policies.
IMHO, The Wire is still timely, and worth a viewing.
You are absolutely correct about The Wire.